County Councils in Anne Arundel County and Baltimore County, Maryland, have voted in storm water management fees, as required by a state mandate signed into law last year by Governor Martin O'Malley, the Baltimore Sun reports ("As rhetoric grows, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties face stormwater fees," by Andrea F. Siegel).
Homeowners will pay a flat fee on the order of $21 to $39, while business owners will pay fees based on the area of impervious surface such as roosf, driveways, or paved parking areas at the business location. Runoff from "hardscape" in developed areas contributes to pollution in the critical Chesapeake Bay watershed. Advocates say the stormwater-fee approach will help pay for restoration of the damaged watershed, and will create incentives to use advanced stormwater management systems on developed sites to eliminate or minimize runoff. But critics are calling the fees a "rain tax," and the measure has attracted comment in the national press.